Surveillance Today

How the use of technology and the nature of what we protect has changed

The world of surveillance as we know it is changing. I should say that it has changed already. Our traditional role of searching for cheats and advantage players has been minimized, while our new responsibilities grow each day. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different. But it is making a huge change to how we operate.

The reasons for this are twofold. First, the increasing development and use of technology in our surveillance operations, and second, the nature of what we protect our properties from has changed completely.

Technology for Casino Surveillance Teams Today

Today’s surveillance rooms have access to technology that is designed specifically for security applications. Systems such as license plate recognition, facial recognition, player evaluation software such as BJ Survey, point of sale (POS) monitoring and reporting systems such as eConnect, are in use in many surveillance operations already and there is even more technology out there. For the protection of players clubs there is exception reporting software, and recently I was made aware of a system that will monitor player ratings in table games. Using the available technology routinely alters how we operate and makes us more effective.

When we implement and use technology, we can detect people and activity faster than we ever did. Or we can put it to use to investigate incidents to determine who did what. For example, the use of facial recognition allows us to be notified immediately when a person we’re looking for arrives on the property. Of course, if you have license plate recognition, you could be alerted as soon as your bad guy pulls into the parking lot!

Surveillance Technology is on the Clock 24/7

I think what I like most about the technology is that it never stops working. It never blinks or takes a break. It is always working in the background, searching for what you tell it to. The level of reporting provided by these systems is incredible. It amazed me when we first activated our facial recognition. We have always looked for bad guys on our property, and I thought we did a good job doing so. I was wrong. While we routinely detected four or five each day, the system was telling us that there were thirty or forty coming into the property! That was an eye-opener, and we adjusted our operational procedures to take advantage of the information provided.

The use of eConnect to monitor our POS systems allows us to immediately detect and investigate exceptions that may indicate theft or fraud in our retail venues. Again, the system works continuously in the background and reports to us when it finds something wrong. Technology allows surveillance to be in all critical areas at once. Something we were never able to do before, and its use allows us to work more proactively.

Modern Role of Security and Surveillance

The second reason that we must change our operations to protect our properties is what we must protect against. While we still must be prepared for cheats, advantage players and team member theft, we must also be aware of and prepared for workplace violence, active shooter, civil unrest, lawsuits, and even damage to our brand and reputation. There are many others.

The modern-day surveillance operation will need to plan for all these issues. Doing so will and should change your operation to account for these potential emergencies and incidents.

As we move forward, I expect that our surveillance role and responsibilities will continue to evolve. The use of technology will drive us to higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency as we adapt to the challenges we now face.

Derk Boss is a Raving Partner and also Director of Surveillance for Angel of the Winds Casino Resort